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Monday, October 12, 2009

ClubMahindra membership sale post triggers copycats

Most of you are aware that we (myself and Bhupesh) had created a page wherein people can buy/sell used club mahindra membership for free. This idea has been tremendously successful and we’ve got more than 400 entries with people listing their memberships for sale or expressing interest to buy. Business close to 30 lakhs has been facilitated by this blog so far [details].

Now, the other side of being popular is that many people find it easier to copy it. Everyone from small time individuals like me to multi billion giants like Microsoft are vulnerable to IPR violations. Seeing the success of our page, many individuals have started duplicating the idea, even copying the content from my blog post word to word and stealing user data from displayed spreadsheet and replicating everything on their blog/websites built on free sub domains.

Two such examples are http://www.clubmahindramembership.co.cc and http://gofornautral.blogspot.com, (If you wish to visit pls copy paste the URL in another window/tab and explore. You can verify that it is a clear duplication of my Buy/Sell club Mahindra membership post. If you’re convinced that it is an IPR violation, please click on report abuse and select Copyright infringement as Type of abuse. Thanks for your support). We can also report abuse at .co.cc (hosting site that where the free subdomain is created), selecting type of abuse as phishing. Reporting abuse may not help much as they can create another copy, but it will send out signal that we’re watching
(Update: the first site seems to be shutdown and subdomain is up for grabs-most probably taken down by .co.cc after phishing complaints)

Both sites seems to be manned by same person who's identity is not available anywhere (obviously). Also they’ve made an attempt to make money through it, charging $20 from those looking to sell their memberships. Another major mistake is trying to steal Club Mahindra’s identity, by keeping an URL and banner which are chosen to mislead visitors into believing that they are genuine Club Mahindra group websites. (this qualifies as phishing)

Now this has forced me to identify ways to protect my IPR and more importantly to prevent misuse of information provided by users, who’ve entered their data in the spreadsheet I’d created. One major way to do this was to hide the email IDs of buyers and sellers and giving a provision wherein visitor can send an email by entering text in a form (the data will then be mailed to recipient,whose email ID won’t be revealed to prospects). Thanks to Bhupesh for this idea. Since Google Docs doesn’t have this provision, we’re working on moving the spreadsheet to Zoho.

There’s been some compromise of email IDs which users had chosen to display in the spreadsheet soliciting inquiries for buying or selling a timeshare membership. Other than that, the threat seems to be minimal, as these new sites do not have any search engine presence. I’ve temporarily taken down the spreadsheet displayed in buy/sell page and will make it live once it is migrated to Zoho. Regrets for the inconvenience.

Internet being free for all, its challenging to prevent someone from copying your text. Your thoughts on how duplication of this kind can be prevented, and how the spreadsheets and Google doc forms can be made more secure are welcome.

Similar: Times of India publishes my image without credit (and issues a clarification later)

28 comments :

Sandesh Karanth said...

I opened the first link provided and got a domain available page. Hope your submission for infriengement has taken place quickly. Though the second link is still working.

He has removed the blog bar provided by blogger through which you could have flagged the blog. [A simple javascript tweek]

Lodging complaints in cyber police stations (through emails) might do a bit though it might take indefinite time for them to check it out.

This is all I could think as of now. Will post more if i find anything more.

Mohan said...

I wish you had thought about plagiarism and sharing contact details after some kind of authentication mechanism while publishing the article!

All, I can think as of now is to minimize the damage. I have done my bit by reporting the second one for abuse. Cyber police have very little to offer to bloggers. I don't think they will be of much use to this case.

Dr.Krishna said...

It is really painful to see such copycats. There should be some simple procedures to file application and take necessary action.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sandesh,
Either the person himself took it off or most likely that .co.cc shut it down after reporting phishing.

May be he will come up with an alternate site soon somewhere else. But he won't be able to gain much without proper search engine positioning, which takes several months to years.

Don't think cyber police will get involved in this.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mohan,

I'd thought of possible misuse of data while designing the spreadsheet. That's why I'd put a disclaimer that users will be entering their contact details at their own risk.

Don't think he'll be able to do much with the data- may be he'll spam them with offers or may be he'll try to sell it to some agencies dealing with timeshare membership. (most of the agencies are already aware of this page as I can sense, so not many would agree to pay for it)

This page was put up more than an year ago- I had no idea it will become popular and someone will lift it 100%

Thanks for your comments and reporting abuse.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dr. Krishna,

I agree. But lots of copy paste happens on internet and there's severe lack of control for contents.

Anyhow, though he's made a brave attempt to duplicate I doubt if he'll be financially successful, at least not immediately.

Delivery said...

Hi,

Good to see you have become so popular & the amount of business your site has done after you came of with this Buying / Selling Concept.

So now if some one is interested in buying what he has to do since you have hide / deleted all email address. Can you fwd all the email address of the last 2 month who wants to sell Red 1 BR apt

I had mentioned my detail on buying a Red 1BR membership got many enquires but where not able to materialsed the same. Hence wanted to get some new contact details of the seller

Many Thanks,
Tejas

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Email address were withheld due to security reasons- We're planning to move it to Zoho and it is pending from my side since long..

sincere apologies

Shrinidhi Hande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i'm new... promise to brief round more time after time!

prashant negi said...

Hi,
I am from dehradun and visiting Kochi for a week with my family. we are four members plus one infant. am looking for self drive options.
stunned to see that all self drive providers with nice web site have indica or innova with drivers and nothing else.
could you pls guide me how to get through with some nice fellow who has a intermediate car option(with boot).

Prashant
9897964946
prashantanandnegi@gmail.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I remember receiving a comment from someone offering a car on rent at calicut or kochi... You can browse through my posts http://www.enidhi.net/2009/01/self-drive-rental-rate-comparison.html and
http://www.enidhi.net/2008/06/self-drive-car-rentals-india-advice.html if you have time.

Else refer to local newspapers, you'll find someone offering cars on self drive.

Not aware of any major agency having its branch in KOchi.

srinath said...

any one who is willing to sell a clubmahindra membership can get in touch with me on rsrinathsetty@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi

I would like to buy a club mahindra RED membership at 130000 i.e 1.3 Lakh.

If anyone is selling please contact me at biju_philipose@yahoo.com or 9844079381 ( bangalore )

Regards
Bijup

Rinku said...

Hi,

You where to move the Buying / Selling of Club Mahindra membership to Zoho and it was pending from your side since a long time has this been done, since I see there are lot of ppl showing interest in this & may be you can formalised it by taking it some nominal fee not as earning some revenue, but for providing a genuine platform where ppl can do some business.

I too am looking for buying an 1BR Red. Is there any other way where we can find some seller who are available to sell their membership.
I found your site as one of the best & one of my frd also closed his deal

Anonymous said...

Hi :)

vinod said...

very good service is provided but i suggest you that you start sale purchase service because there is very limtied deals meterlised because no body knows the right way how to close deal if you offer this service people will thanks you &with this you also start time sharing buissness it also very fruitfull for all pl consider &rember me for good suggestion

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Vinod,
I do not have time resource and interest in starting an intermediate agency that helps buy/sell membership.

Sorry

Rinku said...

Guys

Interested in buying Club Mahindra Membership for 1 B/R Read anyone wishing to sell can contact me on tejas.shah29@gmail.com

Many Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am definitely happy to discove this. cool job!

banjo said...

Kindly delete the entry made by me on 22/8/2010 for a 1 BR unit in Red season which I managed to sell through an inquiry received through this site. Thanks for the wonderful platform. Aditya Banerjee

banjo said...

Please arrange to delete the entry posted for sale by me on 22/8/2010 for a 1BR unit in Red Season. The unit was subsequently sold through an inquiry received via the site. Thanks for the great platform. Aditya Banerjee

Anonymous said...

Many of the memberships listed are sold. It would be very helpful for prospective buyer/sellers if you could automatically remove entries older than (x) days old. If they still have not sold/bought, then they could reenter to keep it alive.

Rajendra Sawant said...

Please remove entry - Raj - mobile 98672 82549 - for selling a purple studio membership.

I have already sold the membership.

Thanks

Raj

Shrinidhi Hande said...

rajendra: done

Pksharma said...

i would like to sell my royal resorts membership.

PK Sharma
9810231498

Pksharma said...




<9810231498>

Anonymous said...

Hi anyone wants to sale studio red membership of club Mahendra ?